Tooth Dislocation or Sudden Loss in Cats

PetMD Editorial
Oct 06, 2010
4 min read
Image: Photo Grapher / via Image Bank

Tooth Luxation or Avulsion in Cats

There are different types of tooth luxation -- the clinical term that is given for a dislocation of the tooth from its normal spot in the mouth. The mutation can be vertical (downward) or lateral (on either side).

In vertical luxation, the tooth may move up (intrusion) or down (extrusion) in its bony socket. Vertical luxation is related to the dislocation of the root of the tooth. In lateral lunation, the tooth tips to the side. Lateral luxation usually occurs due to an injury that has pushed the tip of the tooth to one side. A tooth is called avulsed, meaning that it has been torn suddenly from its spot, if it has been luxated completely from its bony socket.

Symptoms and Types

In cases of intrusion, the affected tooth will appear shorter than normal. In cases with extrusion, the tooth appears longer than normal and can be moved both vertically and horizontally when touched. In cases of lateral luxation, the upper part of the tooth is found deviated on the either side, taking on a crooked appearance. It may be overlapping a nearby tooth to some degree. In cases where there is avulsion of the tooth, the tooth is found to have become completely displaced from its bony socket. This is most often as the result of an injury to the mouth, or to an infection at or near the tooth.


  • Trauma or injury, such as with road side accidents, fights with other animals, or falls
  • Cats with chronic tooth infections are at increased risk


You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents -- such as recent injuries -- that might have preceded this condition. Your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination, looking closely into your cat's mouth to evaluate the teeth. The close physical examination will enable your veterinarian to see if the tooth is luxated or avulsed and whether it can be saved. The most important diagnostic test is radiographic imaging of the tooth arcade, i.e., mouth cavity. X-ray films will be placed into the oral cavity to take an X-ray of the affected teeth. Typical changes will enable your veterinarian to precisely diagnose and treat the condition.

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